Chinese State Circus

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Acrobats of the Chinese State Circus touring in Amsterdam in 1987.

The Chinese State Circus is a touring circus that aims to present Chinese circus arts to European audiences. The show is based on Chinese acrobatic acts. All the performers come from China and are trained in the Chinese tradition of Ma Xi, or hippodrama (horse theatre). But no live animals are used in the Chinese State Circus shows.[1]

The show combines kung fu martial arts from the Shaolin Temple, artists from the Peking Opera and other Chinese speciality acts. Continuity is provided by the figure of the Monkey King who appears between acts. The show also includes a lion dance, plate spinners, diabolos, aerial silks and an excerpt from the Chinese opera.

Chinese acrobatics is a common form of art among the people. It has a long history with a distinct national style, evolving from the Chinese people's everyday life and work.

Historical records, ancient carvings and decorative patterns on utensils show the origin of Chinese acrobatics more than two thousands years ago in the period of the Warring States. During the Quin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C. – 220 A.D.) acrobatic artistes developed a wide repertoire, and acrobatics was thus called "the show of a hundred tricks." It reached a high level as a performing art by the Han Dynasty.[2]

Acrobatics has played an important role in cultural exchanges between China and other nations. In the past 35 years, Chinese acrobatic troupes have toured more than 100 countries and regions throughout the world. Their excellent performances were warmly welcomed and highly appreciated by the people of various countries.

The Chinese State Circus was an idea started back in the 1990s after director Phillip Gandey witnessed a group of Chinese acrobats performing to great acclaim at the Monte Carlo Circus Festival. He was astounded at the quality, depth and sheer diversity of such Chinese acrobatic troupes.[3]


The circus has toured in the United Kingdom since 1992.

The circus is owned by Gandey World Class Productions.

The Chinese State Circus made history by being the first international entertainment Angola has hosted in over 40 years in December 2012 with their show Mulan.

In 2013 they toured their production "Yin Yang" extensively throughout the UK.

In 2015, the Chinese State Circus was included in the programme for the first ever Biennale Internationale des Arts du Cirque which is held in the south of France.[4]

The year 2016 saw the return of the Chinese State Circus with their newly devised production "Dynasty". The First leg of the tour premiered on 7 September at the Nottingham Concert Hall followed by over 50 dates in various Theatres across the UK. The Theatre tour was punctuated with some longer Big Top stands.

2017 - After the success of the previous year's tour, The Chinese State Circus is currently touring the UK in a major Big Top Tour.[5] The tour started in late March at Sandown Racecourse, Esher, and will continue at various venues until late autumn.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ York Presss, Chinese State Circus bring acrobats and Shaolin Warriors to Grand Opera House
  2. ^ BBC, Chinese State Circus Review, Jan. 2004
  3. ^ Exeter North Cott, Chinese State Circus – DYNASTY, 19 November 2016
  4. ^ "Biennale Internationale des Arts du Cirque 2015 | 1ere édition - Rue & Cirque Paca".
  5. ^ "Chinese State Circus".
  6. ^ Visit Leeds UK, Chinese State Circus - Dynasty

External links[edit]